Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The House That Jesus Builds

Yesterday I read an article on why an author does not go to "church", although professes to be a Christian. He has many reasons, all of which I have heard before but none that I think are legitimate. You can read the article here if you really have some time to kill. Over the years I have seen many people used in churches in the wrong ways, just as people are used in businesses or in families. It is a sad sad story when a business man or leader tries to build a Church. It does happen and when it does I can understand why people feel used and tired. Some people do actually need to find a new church, others have inner issues (perhaps a fear of commitment or vulnerability) and probably just need to be planted where they are and grow. Each individual is different. Above all, I have the very firm conviction and belief that you will not flourish or survive as a Christian without a body to belong to.

However, Jesus says that he will build His Church. Through that statement I believe that a church should reflect the characteristics of Jesus and be flowing with gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I found a Church to grow in, one that loves me, uses my gifts (often not enough), and builds me up in faith and the Word of God. I know our Senior Pastors and consider them great mentors and friends and I truly value their leadership. They are both so wise and have a complete love for people. I know our pastoral leadership team (and am on it) and I have faith in everyones ability to love God and love others. For me, going to Church on Sunday is a joy. Attending midweek leadership meetings are an honour. I dont consider these things to be a burdon or feel as if I am guilted into them. I receive so much from being a part of a church.

Perhaps thats the difference between myself and the person who wrote that article? I am a part of a Church, whereas he just attended a church and got bored. If you show up late, sit in the same seat, clap your hands when you are told, say your Amens at the right time and then leave as soon as the preacher puts down the microphone I can guarantee that you will not grow.

Like the article said, Church is people. However, it is not just me and not just you. It is all of us, fellowshipping, swapping stories, doing good deeds, receiving and participating in ministry, encouraging one another and swapping cellphone numbers. Then, through the week you contact each other. They become part of your life. You care for each other.

The Church is a beautiful thing and I am thankful that I belong to a great one. I hope you do too.

This week our Church funded 9 Midwinter Dinners to happen all across Christchurch and hosted by different members of our pastoral team. We hosted ours last night and it was truly wonderful. I dont want to sound like a lunatic, but it really warmed my heart and cemeted in my heart what I have stated above. The essence of Church is doing life together and I am grateful that we can do that. Most of the dinners are for 10-25 people however they are hosting a community wide one tonight which everyone is welcome to. They have a pig on a spit and everything. I hope you can get down there and socialise and connect with a few people.

These photos are of our dinner and I know each midwinter dinner will be different depending on who goes and who hosts. That's the beauty of connecting in smaller groups - personalities can shine through and you can get to know each other.

I would like to thank our Church for displaying the characteristics of Jesus - Love, generosity, a heart for the poor and broken, community, fellowship and giftings. Thank you for funding our dinner last night too. It was a real treasure being able to serve people from our community and I am thankful that it is one of your highest priorities!

Right now there is a team of about 15-20 Aucklanders in our city who are here specifically to serve you. One of them took me grocery shopping yesterday because I cant lift anything without pulling my stomach muscles. These 3 helpful guys turned up last night to finish off the dinner I cooked and to serve everyone and do the dishes afterwards. These people have been walking around our neighbourhood handing out gift baskets filled with goodies and are preparing tonights huge community dinner. 

Feel loved, Christchurch. There are some very generous people around who have not forgotten you.

[Footnote: I felt as if these two posts went hand in hand with each other and I wanted to share them with you. I hope you can see where I am coming from :) Also, I'm more annoyed than you that some of the photos are blury - the lighting wasn't the greatest)

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